Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can manifest in several ways. And, not everyone who has PTSD will present the exact same set of symptoms. According to the National Center for PTSD, symptoms typically include the following:
- Reliving your traumatic event
- Avoiding situations that remind you of your traumatic event
- Negative changes in the way you think—about yourself, other people or the world in general
- Constantly feeling agitated or on edge
However, not everyone who experiences these symptoms suffers from PTSD. So, how can you tell if you or someone you love is struggling with PTSD and not just reacting normally to a traumatic event? Well, you can start by asking yourself three questions.
1. Do Your PTSD Symptoms Last Longer than Four Weeks?
One way to determine whether you may have PTSD is to think about the length of time your symptoms persist. Many experts agree that if you experience the above symptoms for at least four weeks at a time, it could be a strong indication of PTSD. Keep in mind, though, that it’s common for PTSD symptoms to come and go in the months or years following your traumatic event. We recommend keeping a journal of your symptoms, noting what specific symptoms you experience, when they begin, how they make you feel and when they subside.
2. Do Your PTSD Symptoms Cause You Great Distress?
The answer to this question isn’t quite so black and white. Of course no one enjoys reliving a traumatic event or constantly feeling on high-alert. While unpleasant, many people will experience these emotions at some point in their lives. The difference is that people who are not suffering from PTSD understand this to be a temporary rough patch along the winding road of life—if you’ll forgive the cliché.
3. Do Your PTSD Symptoms Affect Your Work or Home Life?
Here’s another easy question to answer. Is your life—either at work or at home—negatively impacted by the four symptoms listed above? In other words, are you avoiding places you used to go or things you used to enjoy because they remind you of a past trauma? For people with PTSD, symptoms are so severe and disruptive that even normal, everyday tasks become insurmountable obstacles. Large crowds, noisy restaurants, certain smells… even relatively mundane experiences like these can make daily life unbearable.
Do You Think You May Have PTSD?
As with any mental health condition, the first step toward recovery is seeking a proper medical diagnosis. Only then can you begin to understand what you’re dealing with and how best to go about treating your PTSD. At Growth Extended, we offer a comprehensive treatment program that considers the whole you—not just your PTSD. Learn more about how we can help. Or, contact us today to get started with your new life.